| BECKHAM: ‘He has been magnificent for United’
London: England captain David Beckham backed under-fire Manchester United colleague Roy Keane and insisted that the rest of his teammates were fully behind the controversial midfielder. Meanwhile, it was learnt that Keane will have a hip operation Tuesday, which will keep him out for three months.
Keane was sent off in Saturday’s 1-1 English Premiership draw with Sunderland for elbowing fellow Republic of Ireland international Jason McAteer. That incident came on top of the publication of an outspoken autobiography in which Keane admitted deliberately injuring Alf Inge Haaland in a Manchester derby last year.
He also criticised the efforts of his United teammates in their trophy-less campaign last season and accused a club in Northern Ireland of religious and racial prejudice.
Beckham refused to condone Keane’s challenge at Sunderland and said United would “rally round” him. “Roy knows he was wrong and he was disappointed but he is our captain and as far as we are concerned we stick by him,” Beckham said.
“Roy’s arm came across McAteer but it didn’t catch him as much as he made out. I told him he shouldn’t have gone down,” Beckham said. “When any player gets the amount of stick Roy has, he can expect the rest of the squad and the manager to stand by him.
“Roy has been magnificent for us all season and whether we think he is right or wrong stays in the club. We all rally round,” Beckham added.
Keane is set to be suspended for the Premiership match against Leeds on September 14 and subsequent league matches with Tottenham and Charlton.
His operation on Tuesday should coincide neatly with an official ban following his sending-off last weekend. The FA is also due to decide this week whether he should face disciplinary charges over his controversial autobiography.
Keane has been carrying the injury since before the summer.